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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Ecclesiastes

- Ecclesiastes

by Joseph Sutcliffe

ECCLESIASTES, OR THE PREACHER.

This book is called in Hebrew קהלת CHOHELETH, convocator, or one who has collected the systems of moralists; but Ecclesiastes, or the Preacher, as in the Greek of the LXX, is thought more elegant. It comprises a review of life, in which five speakers at least are introduced: the disgusted courtier— the philosopher—the stoick—the epicure—the preacher. Hence it abounds with variation of opinion, with discordant sentiments, and systems at issue with one another. For want of distinguishing those speakers, whose notions the preacher attacks, as in chap. 12., men have wrested the sentiments in this book to their own destruction. They are ignorant that the preacher, towards the close especially, speaks like himself, and as a sincere believer in Moses and the prophets. “Fear God, and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” As nature is not to be reproached for the discordant systems of philosophers, so neither is religion to be blamed for the wild theories of divines, who have misread her pages. Any doubts suggested by hypercritics respecting the author of this book, because some Chaldaic words are introduced, can have no weight against the faith of the Hebrew nation. Solomon was acquainted with the literature of Chaldea, of India, and of Egypt; and learned men of every age, and of every nation, have always introduced foreign words and phrases. The Hebrew book, SEDER ÔLAM, affirms, that Solomon wrote three books by the Holy Spirit; the Canticum, or Song of Songs, when young; the Proverbs, when a man; and the Ecclesiastes, when old.